Rome - Shares in Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot parent company PSA both opened higher in trading on Thursday after the two companies took a major step towards their much-heralded merger, announcing the combined company would be called "Stellantis."
A message sent to employees on Thursday, and jointly signed by Fiat-Chrysler Chairman John Elkann and CEO Mike Manley, explained that the moniker was derived from the Latin-language verb "Stello" (meaning "illuminated by starlight").
The message said the combined company's goal was to be "a truly global group with an extraordinary breadth and depth of talents, know-how, and resources capable of producing sustainable mobility products over the coming decades."
Based on sales figures for 2019, Stellantis will be the world's fourth-largest carmaker.
The 45-billion-euro (R850bn) deal, which has been slowed by the impacts of the global coronavirus outbreak, is now expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021.
According to data released by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, overall car sales in Europe were 24.1 percent lower in June than in the same month last year, an improvement compared to year-on-year figures for April and May when the outbreak was strongest.
Both Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot were hit harder than the sector as a whole, according to the association's figures, dropping 28.4 percent and 28.3 percent respectively.
The unveiling of the new company's future name was applauded by investors, with shares in both Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot climbing around 2 percent when markets opened, although economic news released later in the trading session saw some of those gains evaporate.